The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) allows for every American to download a copy of their credit report from one of the major credit reporting companies (Equifax, Experian & TransUnion) once a year.
- This allows you to get a free credit report from one of the three companies, not all three. If you want or need reports from the remaining two, you will have to part with about $8 a pop.
- After a year, you are eligible for another free credit report.
It’s important to note that while the three companies have roughly similar information, they do not necessarily have the same information. You don’t need to get all three, but you should be mindful of this. If something is misreported on one, you really should followup on the other two.
If you don’t buy the remaining two reports, I recommend that you cycle through all of the companies every three years.
A credit report is not your credit score. The report shows what is logged against your credit (good or bad). Your credit score is something different, and you guessed it, costs extra.
To get this free report, you have to go to AnnualCreditReport.com. Please note that the URL does not have the word “free” in it. If you go to a “free credit report” website, you will find yourself enrolled in some not-so-free subscription services.
This is what you should see, circa January, 2013:
Do you think that “mayhem” is a synonym for “chaos” and “disorder?”
If you do, you’d be incorrect.
According to Merriam-Webster, Mayhem is a noun that means:
a : willful and permanent deprivation of a bodily member resulting in the impairment of a person’s fighting ability
b : willful and permanent crippling, mutilation, or disfigurement of any part of the body
: needless or willful damage or violence
Mayhem is also a criminal act like assault or murder. To commit mayhem is to intentionally remove a body part, thereby handicapping another human being (Example).
And that’s your fun fact of the day.
It is a folly of youth to believe that older generations can’t keep up with technology. They can, but they have to really put in the effort. The state of technology is changing so rapidly that even those completely immersed in it have blindspots. Things keep changing faster and faster. As a consequence of this endless and rapid change, our leaders both elected and appointed continue to founder.
Business as usual in Washington is new laws and policies are written by interest groups, and approved along fairly partisan lines. This isn’t new. However, when it comes to issues such as net neutrality, copyright policy, and Wikileaks it has become clear that our leaders don’t even comprehend the decisions they are making, let alone their impact.
Take for example, Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore. This man accidentally put together a perfectly logical argument against his own copyright initiative (Michael Geist). The only way this sort of thing happens is when a leader doesn’t have a freaking clue about the proposed policy. You cannot ethically support a law or policy if you don’t understand what it says; what it impacts; and what’s at stake.
For another example let’s look at Darrell Issa (R), the new chairman of the House of Representatives Oversight Committee. Issa argued that US Attorney General Eric Holder should step down if he can’t stop Wikileaks (Reuters). He went on to state,
He’s hurting this administration. If you’re hurting the administration, either stop hurting the administration, or leave
Issa’s statements demonstrate a total misunderstanding of the Internet, Wikileaks, and international media. Why?
Even if the United States were to assassinate every single person who helped, or was involved with Wikileaks, it wouldn’t stop Wikileaks. Months ago, Wikileaks released a 1.4GB file on bit torrent (Wired). The file is allegedly an encrypted version of all of the Cables that have been leaked, and have yet to be leaked. That file has been downloaded by countless people. If anything happens to Julian Assange, the encryption key will be released, and all of its contents will be revealed. Hell, even if the key isn’t released, odds are someone will eventually crack it.
Issa’s understanding of the Internet and cybersecurity seems to come entirely from an episode of 24. This is real life, and sexy magical hackers who can delete a file from thousands of computers with 15 seconds and a mouse click don’t exist.
Regardless of your opinion on copyright law and Wikileaks, the point remains the same. These men don’t understand what they are talking about, and they aren’t alone. They have tons of coworkers who are just as clueless.
It is terrifying that the architects of the future can’t comprehend the present state of affairs.
While not the future promised to me in my youth 2010 was a solid year (It would have been way cooler with a flying car).
My intent was to write a few posts about trends and events in 2010 to close out the year, but as I mentioned, I got sick. So, you get one instead (Which might be for the best).
Zeitgeist is German for “spirt of the times.”
Every year since 2007, Google releases aggregated statistics on search term popularity for the year. And every year I sink at least an hour into fishing through the statistics because I find it truly intriguing. It’s interesting to see the kinds of things that large quantities of people search.
It’s also amazing to see how large Facebook has grown.
If you compare the amount of search traffic for two hugely popular terms such as the “iPad” & “Justin Bieber,” you can see that these two terms are fairly comprable.
Now when you compare, “iPad” & “Facebook” you can see how Facebook dwarfs just about everything occupying our collective imaginations.
Compared with Facebook, the largest consumable goods and celebrities are insignificant. I find it equally scary and amazing.
Explore the stats on Google Zeitgeist 2010
Someone needs to fight to maintain our freedoms and civil liberties on the Internet. Fortunately the EFF stepped up to the proverbial plate. This year they fought and won some significant legal battles on our behalf. They made a cute, 8bit video to promote their victories. The art direction indicates that they know exactly who their primary audience is.
I hope 2011 brings you health, happiness, and a greater expansion of Internet civil liberties.
The case of “Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association and Entertainment Software Association” will be argued before the US Supreme Court this Tuesday.
The question that is being contested is, can a state law prohibit the sale or rental of video games to minors if the state deems the games unacceptable.
The law has already been struck down by a federal judge, but Governor Schwarzenegger has appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court, and they have decided to hear the case.
If the ruling is in favor of the EMA & ESA, all will be well. If the Court rules in favor of Schwarzenegger, it will be a huge blow to gamers, the video game industry, and any other form entertainment that relies on the freedom of expression.
You can read Kotaku for more on the case.
What’s really important to take note of is the petitioner in this case is this dude:
If you are a passionate First Amendment advocate, or a gamer, I will direct you to the Video Game Voters Network.
The ACTA Treaty is a very serious threat to privacy, security, and freedom. You can learn all about it in my previous post:
Here’s what BoingBoing wrote about how to fight this monster:
The PublicACTA activists have been meeting in Wellington, New Zealand — site of the next round of negotiations on the secret Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement — drafting a declaration on how the next global copyright treaty should read, and how it should be negotiated.
The “Wellington Declaration” says that the world copyright treaties shouldn’t be conducted behind closed doors in smoke-filled rooms, but rather in the full light of public participation at the United Nations, where copyright treaties are customarily made. The UN admits non-governmental organizations, journalists, and representatives from poor countries, while ACTA is only open to rich countries and lobbyists from powerful corporations.
The Declaration says that copyright treaties should preserve the flexibility to make unauthorised use for purposes consistent with the public interest, from criticism to education; it says that privacy should be protected in copyright law, rejecting the principle that we should all be spied upon in case we are infringing on copyright; that web-hosts and search engines should be protected from liability rather than charged with policing their users; that DRM is not part of copyright and shouldn’t be in a copyright treaty; that Internet access is a human right and that disconnection from the net for accusations of infringement is disproportionate and unjust; and that damages for infringement should be reasonable. It asks that criminal sanctions for copyright be reserved for genuinely criminal acts, non casual sharing.
In short, the Wellington Declaration says a bunch of extremely sensible things that, if implemented, would give us a much better world.
Tonight, they are collecting signatures on the Declaration, and tomorrow morning, they will present it to the ACTA negotiators as they sit down to plot the world’s future in New Zealand.
I’ve signed it. I think we all should.
Please do your part to help fight ACTA, so that one day you don’t have to tell your kids what privacy was, or how freedom of speech worked. Let them experience it for themselves.
I never sign Internet petitions, but I refuse to stand idly by while politicians give away or Constitutional rights. If you take a look at the petitions, you will proudly see my name displayed.
Please add your name to it as well.
You can sign the petition here: http://publicacta.org.nz/wellington-declaration/
Dear New York State,
I was born, raised, and lived the first 22 years of my life within your borders. I now live in your under-appreciated neighbor to the South; New Jersey. However, I do come to visit you quite frequently.
I have never smoked; not once have I put an illegal substance into my body; I have resisted the urge to take painkillers after surgery; I rarely ever consume alcohol; I have kept in reasonably good shape (especially for someone writing a blog called “The Geek Whisperer”); and I have never been overweight…
But damn it, I like to have soda (“pop” for my dear friends in Western New York) when I go out for dinner.
Why do I like to have a soda when I am out for a meal?
Please don’t take this the wrong way… It’s really awkward to say… So I’m just going to come out with it.
With rare exception, your tap water tastes like a swimming pool, algae, metal, or the flavor that I have always imagined as fecal matter.
I’m sorry New York, but the truth hurts.
This is why I am so disappointed in your proposed 15% “Obesity Tax” on soda.
Make no mistake about it, when I am at home I drink water. When I go out to eat, I want water, but your water is… well, I don’t want to say it again.
But what about the children?
This isn’t really about children. You know very well that the obesity problem isn’t just about Coke and Pepsi. It’s about a lack of exercise; poor food options (at home and at school); and the recession.
Cheap food is generally bad for you.
Children who’s parents work during dinner aren’t going to eat right.
In spite of the rhetoric of American Academy of Pediatrics of New York State, this isn’t about getting rid of “liquid candy.” It might be about that for pediatricians, but in your case, this is about grasping for tax money.
I know you are having financial problems. Who isn’t these days?
Don’t you think you could look to some other methods of fixing them?
Perhaps cutting waste in your school system. Don’t tell me there isn’t waste. I lived in your public school system for 17 years (K-12 and college). It seems to me that the only way to remove a tenured teacher is to get him to “knock-up” a student.
Maybe you could get yourself a governor who spends more time leading than fighting off criminal investigators and media inquiries (You’re at two in a row, don’t go for the hat-trick).
All I know is that you need to figure out how to balance your budget without making the tax on soda higher than the tax on beer (11 cents per gallon).
When people start slaying strangers on the road with their cars because they had a “Big Gulp” of Coke, or a man comes home and beats up his family because he drank that “Biggie Sized” Pepsi I will back you up on that tax.
Until then, solve real problem.
And fix your stinking tap water.
David B. Spira
The Geek Whisperer